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VT GMO Labeling Would Begin in July 2016, According to Senate Version

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page, Millions Against Monsanto Page and our Vermont News Page.

Vermont lawmakers are poised to "boldly go where no other state has gone before," Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, said Thursday before casting his vote for an unprecedented food-labeling law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave H.112 unanimous approval Thursday. The bill would require the labeling of food made with genetically modified ingredients sold in Vermont.

Vermont will not wait for more states to adopt similar laws before it moves ahead with GMO labeling.

Connecticut and Maine have passed laws that included a trigger based on other states' adoption of labeling provisions. Vermont lawmakers emulated Connecticut's and Maine's legislation, but did not include a trigger in H.112.

Voter referendums for GMO labeling mandates failed in California and Washington in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Other states, including New Hampshire and New York, are considering their own standards.

As drafted, Vermont's bill would apply to all food and drink sold in the state, except meat, milk and food sold in restaurants. After much discussion, committee members agreed it should also apply to chewing gum - but not chewing tobacco.

Lawmakers also agreed to establish a fund to cover the costs of implementing the law, including any legal challenge it might face.

"Maybe they won't sue," Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, quipped at one point while discussing the fund. "Maybe they'll say, 'Gee, Vermont, you're doing the right thing.'"     
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